SA Invitation XI hold their own against NZ
The South African Invitation XI put up a good performance with the bat against a New Zealand team that bowled reasonably well without really looking to have the firepower to take twenty test wickets.
By close of play on the second of three days allocated for this non-first-class match in Paarl, the locals had reduced the deficit to 33 with four wickets in hand. Openers Matthew Kleinveldt and Hendrik van der Dussen each got into the seventies, but perhaps the most impressive knock came from local boy Keegan Petersen, unbeaten on 47 by close of play. Trent Boult and Bruce Martin each claimed two wickets.
Brendon McCullum declared the tourists' first innings at the overnight score of 311 for six, with all the batsmen having a decent knock. With the track as dead as ever, Boult got some movement while Chris Martin controlled his length well, firing in the odd yorker. However, despite McCullum using the bowlers in short spells, they could make little impression on openers Kleinveldt and Van der Dussen, who took the score to 84 by lunch.
They continued in much the same vein after the break. Van der Dussen did have a charmed life, mis-timing some shots as he tried to force the pace. He also had the only outisde edge of the day while Kleinveldt survived the first confident lbw shout, and that was pretty much all that had almost gone right for the bowlers on a long hot day. Kleinveldt eventually made a mistake, missing his attempt shot across the line and being stumped for 78 off 169 balls with 11 fours, ending a partnership of 161 in 54 overs. By tea the score had moved on to 168.
Wickets tumbled after tea as the first five went down for 35 in the space of 16 overs. Colin Ackermann went in slightly controversial circumstances, edging Neil Wagner to Martin Guptill at slip. Ackermann felt that he had hit it into the ground, and only departed after consultation between umpires Shaun George and Adrian Holdstock.
Van der Dussen was next to go, also taken in the slips as Boult worked up some impressive pace late in the day, backed up by some keen fielding. Van der Dussen scored 76 off 182 balls, with eight fours and a six. Boult then bowled captain Piet van Biljon with a peach of a late in-swinger. Uwe Birkenstock was adjudged leg before, despite clearly hitting the ball, but umpire Holdstock correctly ruled that the first impact was with the pad.
Still 115 in arrears, local boy Petersen led a fightback with Bradley Barnes. Every shot of Petersen, a product of the New Orleans High School, was greeted with warm applause by a good crowd, sensibly ensconced under the many trees.
An elegant off drive brought up the 200, but his best shot was a six hit well over mid-wicket when the otherwise economical James Franklin dropped one short. He was unbeaten at the end of the day on 47, made off 64 balls and he has already hit six fours and a six.
Chris Martin was eventually rewarded for a day of hard toil, trapping Bradley Barnes in front with the second new ball to end a useful partnership of 56 for the sixth wicket.
It was hard work in the heat, but the bowlers persisted well despite getting nothing out of the pitch. McCullum experimented with his field placings, at one stage having three catching in the covers as well as one on the leg side, looking for the mistimed drive.
Chris Martin finished with 1-31 and Boult 2-46, both looking to have good rhythm. Bruce Martin took 2-66 and Wagner, energetic enough to beat the bat in the penultimate over of the day, took one. Jeetan Patel and Franklin went wicketless despite being economical.
Bad news for the tourists was the injury to Peter Fulton, who aggravated a knee injury while batting on the first morning and will be returning to New Zealand for treatment.
It remains to be seen if the Invitation XI will return the favour and declare overnight, or if they will look to reduce the deficit of 33 and even take a small lead into the second innings.
Report Day 1
SA INVITATION XI: Matthew Kleinveldt, Hendrik van der Dussen, Colin Ackermann, Piet van Biljon (capt), Uwe Birkenstock, Keegan Petersen, Bradley Barnes, Steven Liebisch, Petrus Jeftha, Siya Simetu, Travis Muller and Gino Vries.
NEW ZEALANDERS: Peter Fulton, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Brendon McCullum (capt), Daniel Flynn, BJ Watling, James Franklin, Neil Wagner, Bruce Martin, Jeetan Patel, Travis Boult, Chris Martin and Dean Brownlie.